A contingent of 45 Armenian school educators from around the Eastern Diocese attended the annual “Armenian Teachers’ Symposium” at the Diocesan Center on September 7. Organized by the Diocesan Armenian Studies department, the symposium offered guidance from experts in the field of Armenian heritage, language, and cultural education; addressed challenges expressed by local Armenian schools; and introduced resources focusing on accelerated and effective instruction.
Keynote speaker Dr. Shushan Karapetian (deputy director of the USC Institute of Armenian Studies in Fresno, CA) spoke to the teachers via Skype about promoting and cultivating Armenian in the diaspora, offering practical recommendations for success in language transmission.
Anna Ghasabyan presented strategies to deal with special-needs students. Both speakers fielded questions from the participants.
Diocesan Armenian Studies department director Gilda Kupelian underscored the educators’ dedication to their mission, and spoke about the mutually reinforcing effects of Armenian religion, culture, and language, as illustrated in feasts of the Sourp Asdvadzadzin (Holy Mother-of-God) and the Havadamk (Nicene Creed) recited in the badarak.
In addition to formal speakers, the teachers engaged in hands-on workshop sessions, and were introduced to new Armenian resources for different age groups, developed by the Armenian Studies department.
The Rev. Fr. Davit Karamyan opened the symposium by reciting a prayer by St. Nersess Shnorhali in unison with the teachers. Later he elicited an animated discussion among the attendees when he suggested alternate visions of cultural education, in which the church might not carry the task of Armenian language instruction, but collaborate with other organizations.
Awards and Honorees
The symposium drew participants from the Armenian schools of St. John Church (Southfield, MI), Holy Ascension Church (Trumbull, CT), St. Thomas Kirikian School (Tenafly, NJ), St. Leon Church (Fair Lawn, NJ), St. Vartan Cathedral and the Khrimian Lyceum (New York, NY), St. Gregory Mission Parish (Brooklyn, NY), Holy Martyrs Armenian Language School (Bayside, NY); and St. Gregory the Enlightener Church (White Plains, NY).
The following teachers were honored for dedicated service to their parish Armenian school: for 25 years of service, Mary Kuruzian (Tenafly, NJ); for 10 years of service, Janet Ozsolak, Tamar Sar Kalayjian (both of White Plains, NY), and Nairee Djirdjirian (Bayside, NY).
The Very Rev. Fr. Papken Anoushian, pastor of St. Thomas Church (Tenafly, NJ) was commended for his decade of teaching prayer, proverbs, the Havadamk and badarak at the Kirikian School. Mary Ann Saraydarian was lauded for her decades of assistance to Tenafly’s Kirikian School and the Diocese’s Khrimian Lyceum.